As the days start to get shorter and cooler, everyone in Paris is looking for ways to keep the chill away this fall. One of our favorite ways to stay warm is by baking (and eating) yummy desserts. This time of year, the markets are full of delicious produce that is great for making the perfect autumnal desserts.
We asked our friend Alisa Morov of Sweet Pea Baking and Catering to share one of her favorite fall recipes. Alisa has moved from Los Angeles to Paris in 2002 and has since been baking up a storm and writing several cookbooks. She offers the full range of catering and party planning services as well as cooking classes and tours of Parisian markets and you can also catch her delicious goodies at Claus where she is the pastry chef.
The recipe she chose for us is a Fig-Almond Gratin, a classic French dish to which she added some twists, like the addition of the black pepper and salted butter. “This is wonderful at this time of the year,” Alisa said, especially since figs are plentiful at the markets right now.
Here at Savoir Faire, we had a deliciously fun morning of baking where we tried out Alisa’s recipe. The gratin was absolutely delicious and, just as Alisa said, it is “perfect for these cooling temperatures.”
Alisa’s FIG – ALMOND GRATIN
(Gratin de Figues aux Amandes d’Alisa)
5 Tbls/70g – salted butter/beurre demi-sel
Additional Butter for buttering the ramekins.
¼ cup/30g – Cake Flour/farine type 55
¼ cup/30g – Almond Powder(ground almonds/poudre d’amande
1/3 cup/70g – Granulated Sugar/sucre en poudre
½ the scrapings of a Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground/poivre noir fraichement moulu
2 Egg Whites/blanc d’oeufs
22 oz/600g Figs/figues – about 12 medium sized figs
4 Ramekins (of the crème brûlée type…about 4½ inches diameter, 1in high/11.5cm by 2.5cm)
2 Tbls Sliced Almonds/amandes effilées
Preheat the oven to 210ºC/400ºF
Butter the ramekins, use your fingers….or a brush..be generous.
Cut the figs into quarters, distribute evenly between the ramekins, skin side down, in a flower pattern.
In a good size mixing bowl, mix together the flour, almond powder, sugar, vanilla and pepper with a fork. Add the egg whites and mix well.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, just until it begins to brown. Remove from heat, let sit for a minute, then add the butter to what you’ve got going on in the mixing bowl. Mix well. Pour the mixture over the figues. Place in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, put oven on broil.
Scatter the Sliced Almonds over the ramekins, place ramekins in broiler for 2 to 4 minutes – just until the almonds start to get brown on the edges.
Serve warm with a gorgeous dollop of crème fraiche….or vanilla ice cream!